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“Great way to experience the Channel Islands”

Paddle Sports Center
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Kayak Rental
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: The Paddle Sports Center is Santa Barbara's premier Kayak | SUP | Surf rental, membership, instruction, and tour center. Explore the Santa Barbara waterfront & view sea birds, sea lions, seals, dolphins, and even whales! We provide instruction and comfortable/quality gear. Our rental rates are the best in town and our local guides are extremely knowledgable about the area. We have been serving the local community for over 25 years, and we guarantee that you will have an enjoyable experience.
Useful Information: Lockers / storage, Activities for older children
Reviewed 17 November 2016

We had a wonderful time. Our guide Marina was very friendly, supportive and informative. We couldn't go into all the caves because of big swells, sleeping seals, and my nervousness about the waves in one of the caves, but the ones we did were fun and kayaking along the edge of the islands was just amazing. And the snacks were tasty. Highly recommend ordering breakfast as well - great burrito and ham and cheese roll to get you started on the adventure.

Thank Anne S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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49 - 53 of 594 reviews

Reviewed 6 November 2016

We had a fantastic day on the Channel Islands with CIO. We went on the Sea Kayaking trip which was well organised, fun and memorable. Our guide, JD, made sure we got the most out of our day in what were challenging conditions for inexperienced oldies like us. After kayaking we had time to walk on the island which was quiet and fascinating.

The ferry departs from Ventura and is modern and fast which made for a comfortable and enjoyable part of the day.

Thank Marit_Stevens
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 November 2016

I grew up in Southern California and lament the fact that I never did this as a child. We had a fabulous time with CIO. We were out there celebrating my bro's 40th birthday and it was great to check out the Channel Islands. Everything was great from the get go: pre-boarding review, food, etc. JD was our guide and we had lots of fun with him, even as some of us fell into water as we tried new kayaking maneuvers.

Kayaking through the kelp forest was challenging at times and we spent a long time out on the water. By the end, we were all exhausted. The conditions for snorkeling were not ideal, so we skipped it and went on a 2-mile hike instead.

Since the trip was organized by a friend, perhaps they mentioned this, but it would be nice to have long sleeve wet suits or glove since the barnacles are super sharp. I didn't get cut, but a few others who fell out did. Overall, a great day and one to be remembered.

Thank Fernando M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 October 2016

We found this tour by searching for tours went out to the Channel Islands off the CA coast. We had a friend visiting from out of town and it was another friend's birthday, so a group of 7 of us decided to splurge and sign up for a kayaking tour.

The Channel Islands Outfitters' website makes it very easy to understand what you're getting - it clearly states what's included in the price (equipment, wetsuits, lunch) and what isn't (the ferry ticket). You can book the ferry ticket through CIO or through Island Packers directly. Once you book, you get helpful emails that remind you what to bring with you. You will have to carry your lunch from the harbor to the island, and we also brought along water shoes, a change of clothes, bags to carry trash home in and wet clothes in, and a bunch of snacks (and chocolate!) and refillable water bottles. They recommend wearing your bathing suit under your clothes when you go, which is ideal as the line for the changing rooms on the island gets long very quickly!

Once on the island, you get an intro talk to the kayaking, including info on how to get back in if the boat turns over, other safety tips and some general information on kayaking. The staff is all so informative, helpful and friendly! Then you gear up in wetsuits, jackets, life jackets and helmets, and you grab a kayak and are off! They have double kayaks as well as a couple single ones.

The day we went, there was a bit of swell, so we weren't able to go into that many caves, but Dave, our guide, was still great at pointing out wildlife (sea lions and seals), birds, and the awesome rock formations and kelp beds. Some of the caves are "pass through" ones and others you go in, turn around, and come back out - we only made it into two on our trip because of the water conditions. We kayaked for about 3 hours, naming sea lions as we went - it was incredibly fun and adventurous!

When we got back to the island, we changed and had lunch - there's no running water on the island, but there are outhouse style bathrooms and CIO brings coolers of water to refill your bottles with. The lunches were amazing - I had a really delicious Italian meat and cheese salad, and my group all enjoyed their sandwiches and salads.

The water was unfortunately too murky to snorkel in after lunch (though CIO also has heavier wetsuits and snorkel gear for you to use), so instead we did a 45 minute loop hike to one of the island peaks and back down through the campground - it was a great way to stretch after kayaking all morning, and we saw a few island foxes along the way!

The tour is a bit on the pricey side ($144 each, plus $59 round trip for the ferry), but it was absolutely worth it. You can do either the 8am or 9am ferry out to the island, and then the 4pm or 5pm ferry back. We did the 9am out and the 5pm back, and I wouldn't have cut it any shorter. In fact, next time I go, I'll try to do the earlier ferry so I can have just a bit more time on the island!

I have lived in CA my whole life and had not gone out to the Channel Islands before, and I'm now addicted! I'll definitely be going back out again.

Thank amksba
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 24 October 2016

We loved our kayaking trip with Ryan as our guide. The ferry ride was awesome, food was great and our kayaking through caves very exciting! Lots of swells.

Thank Karen R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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